Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Relapse.

I think I have recovered from my console rant. Moving on.

Oh my god, what the hell is this?!

Okay, maybe not. I didn’t always loath Nintendo products. When the Gamecube and the Xbox were on the horizon I was firmly in the Nintendo camp when it came to choosing a second console. It had more than just the normal first party exclusives, the controller was a bit odd but certainly a step above The Duke that Microsoft crammed into system boxes, and most games just looked really good. The Gamecube held off the other consoles nicely in the graphics department; to this day I maintain that Resident Evil 4 was the best looking game of the previous generation. It was home to Metroid Prime, one of the most successful reboots of a series ever, Wind Waker, the most underappreciated Zelda game, and Killer 7, a game more bizarre than I thought possible. My Gamecube served me well, until games stopped coming out for it in favor of being held off for the Wii.

My suspicions about the Wii started early on. I worked for a certain large game retailer at the time and we had a shot at it long before the general public did. From the moment I held the controller I was underwealmed. This was it? This was the revolution? Graphically, the games weren’t any better than the oXbox (most demos running were just repurposed Gamecube titles) and the motion control was a mess. I tried Wii tennis and Wii bowling and Wii Metroid, and they were all terrible. Motion control offered no advantage over a standard controller. Indeed, it was a liability. I was pissed off for a while, feeling deserted by a company I had grown up with, until I realized two very important things. First, Nintendo had just saved me a good chunk of money. Second, their new system was simply not for me. As someone who has been gaming since the Atari 2600 I have come to accept, even expect, a certain level of complexity. The controller is a necessary barrier, one that I appreciate and enjoy learning the ins and outs of. Yes, it has always kept out the majority of people, but I never really had a problem with that. Gaming was a niche thing, and I liked it that way. Nintendo changed what a game is, simplified it to where flailing your arms like a drunken idiot would be a reasonable way to control what is going on, then unleashed the thing at a reasonable price point on the unsuspecting public. The Wii is absolute genius, in a business sense. It opened up entire new markets by marginalizing an old one, and the numbers don’t lie. The non-gaming public buys a lot of shit (and I mean that literaly) that no one else will ever touch.

So there you have it. I don’t hate Nintendo, I have the utmost respect for a company that can repackage their old product in Mac-esque box, add in a pointless innovation, and print money with the thing. They just wont be getting any of mine. And I really wish Sony and Microsoft weren’t following suit.

You, kid. Yeah you. Get off my damn lawn.

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